Review: First Match by Lynne Silver

First Match (Coded for Love 0)First Match by Lynne Silver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to The Romance Evangelist by the author in exchange for an honest review.

FIRST MATCH is the latest entry in Lynne Silver’s excellent Coded For Love series, and one I’ve been looking forward to reading. It’s essentially the story of a young man looking for his first real world experience outside the closed-off environment where he was raised, and the young woman ready to show him everything he’s been missing. But as a prequel to the entire series, it also fills in details about a key character in the series who has been a mystery until now.

Peter has never questioned his purpose in life or how he was raised to fulfill it, but as a healthy 20 year old male, he’s also longed for a chance to have some unsupervised fun, and maybe even meet a girl. When he and Allison first meet by chance at a local outdoor concert, her carefree personality is just as attractive to him as her physical appearance. Their immediate sexual connection convinces Peter that they are a genetic match, but how can he ask Allison to give up her whole future just to be with him?

Commander Peter “Shep” Shepard is one of my favorite secondary characters in the Coded for Love series, so it was a real treat for me to read some of his story before he was all grown up and helping to run The Program where all the previous books took place. I loved seeing the tender soul behind the tough guy, and the woman who’d helped him become the man we’d already seen. Peter’s love for Allison was genuine, going well beyond the genetic match that bound them together physically, and hers for him was just as strong and real. We see that each was ready to make every sacrifice to be with the other, and how their love never wavered even in the face of eventual separation. Part of me wishes that FIRST MATCH had been longer, but with Peter and Allison’s romance as the focus of the story, the shorter length made sense and worked well to get us to their ultimate happy ending. It’s a wonderful addition to one of my favorite series, and a joy to read.

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Release Week: First Match by Lynne Silver

I’m pleased to welcome Lynne Silver here today to tell us about First Match, the new prequel novella in her long-running Coded For Love series about genetically enhanced soldiers and the women who love them.


First Match is a prequel in the Coded for Love series. If you haven’t read any of the series, here’s a quick highlight on what is Coded for Love:

Engineered with superior strength, agility and acumen, the genetically enhanced soldiers of the top-secret Program do the dangerous assignments no one else can. Now they’re tasked with one additional job. Breed.

But finding and convincing their perfect DNA match they are the right men for the job may be their most dangerous mission to date. And the hottest. Good thing they’re Coded for Love.

If you haven’t read any of the books in the series you won’t know that Shep, AKA Commander Peter Shepard, is the mysterious hard-ass in charge of all the younger soldiers. He acts as a father figure to many of the soldiers and is also their strategic planner. It’s also very briefly mentioned in Book 1, Heated Match, that Shep was the very first genetically enhanced soldier.

So for the prequel, I thought it would be fun to go back to 1980 and tell Shep’s story of what it was like being the first genetically enhanced soldier who’s never before been allowed off campus (Virgin Hero alert!) and how he meets the girl who eventually becomes his match.

My favorite parts about the novella are that he’s a virgin (I love virgin heroes), it’s set in 1980. (Like, totally radical dude), and there’s sex, drugs and rock & roll!

Here’s a taste of First Match:

Peter leaned in until their faces were inches apart. “I am nothing like the other guys you know. If my life were my own, I’d buy you a house in the suburbs and marry you and make babies. But I don’t have that to offer you, and, trust me, you don’t want what I have to offer.”

“Marriage? Babies? We’ve known each other two days. And I’m going to—”

“New York. I know,” he said almost bitterly. “You’re going to be the next Blondie, and I will not stand in your way.”

“Then what do we have?”

“This,” he said, and leaned in to find her mouth and take her in a deep kiss. As soon as his lips touched hers, all her fear and anger morphed quickly into passion, and she tugged him down to deepen the kiss. Just like at the concert, their passion exploded into an inferno. His large body pushed her willingly back into her mattress, and the comforter crushed up between them as an unwanted barrier.

She couldn’t get enough of his mouth and ached for more. “Get under here,” she ordered and tugged the blanket out from between their bodies. She heard him kicking off his boots and she sat up to yank her extra-large T-shirt over her head. Her panties were next. Peter stood next to the bed, ripping off his clothes silently and quickly.


cover

Allison Macclesfield wants—no, needs—to be a rock star, and what better decade to do it in than the ‘80s? Music is her passion. She’s got her future mapped out. Move to New York, find a job, audition to be lead singer in a band.

Plans don’t include giving it all up for Peter Shepard, the sexiest guy she’s ever met. He’s nothing like the guys she’s known. Peter’s life is full of mystery, and though they believe they’re a perfect match, she can have him or her rock star dreams. But not both.

This is a Coded for Love Prequel

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Lynne

About the Author:

Romance author, Lynne Silver, writes the popular Coded for Love series and other hot contemporary romance novels, such as Love, Technically. Before writing romance, she wrote fiction of a different sort, drafting press releases for technology corporations. Washington DC is her home (non) state, where she resides with her husband and two sons. She is represented by literary agent, Jessica Alvarez of Bookends LLC.

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Twitter: @LynneSilver

Blog Tour: Pulled Within by Marni Mann

Pulled Within Cover

Title: Pulled Within (Bar Harbor Series #2)
Author: Marni Mann
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Booktrope
Release Date: September 12, 2014

Synopsis:
Storms can’t last forever…can they?

For five long years, Rae Ryan has lived in a storm over which she has no control. Little by little, everything has been taken away from her—her job, her relationship, her best friend and her home. Plagued by nightmares and a terrible family secret, she carries her scars as much on the inside as she does on the outside.

Hart Booker, another disappointment from her past, returns to Bar Harbor and shelters her from the rain. He reminds Rae that forgiveness is possible, happiness can be found on the other side of darkness, and beauty rests beneath her scars. But a sinister figure lingering in the background seems determined to pull Rae back into a past she’s been trying to outrun. Can she survive the storm and become part of the light she so desperately desires? Or is she destined to remain Pulled Within?

Recommended for mature audiences due to explicit language, sexual abuse, disturbing situations, and drug use.

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About Marni Mann:
A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian, is inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. She taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark and breathtaking journey. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children.

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There will be 4 lucky winners in the Pulled Beneath Blog Tour Giveaway!
Grand Prize – Signed Pulled Beneath and Pulled Within paperbacks, $40 Amazon e-giftcard
1st Runner Up: Signed Pulled Within paperback, $20 Amazon e-giftcard
2nd Runner Up: Signed Pulled Within paperback
3rd Runner Up: Pulled Within e-book

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Review: Make It Right by Megan Erickson

Make it Right (Bowler University, #2)Make it Right by Megan Erickson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

After a year when I’ve declared so many romance tropes and subgenres off my reading list, only to be shown how good they can actually be, it should have been no surprise that I would find a book so wonderful that it redeems the one subgenre I’d sworn off for good: New Adult. But make no mistake, MAKE IT RIGHT by Megan Erickson is the one New Adult romance that I truly believe even those weary of that subgenre could enjoy reading.

Although MAKE IT RIGHT is the second in Megan Erickson’s Bowler University series, it works quite well as a stand-alone story. Starting the series with this second book might even provide an advantage to the new reader, since the story revolves around the redemption of a much reviled character from the first book, MAKE IT COUNT.

Max Payton is infamous among his college friends for the rotten way he treated his last girlfriend, Kat, and how before that, he’d slept with the high school girlfriend of his best friend Alec. Now that Alec and Kat are a couple, Max must content himself with the occasional nightly pickup of whatever women are still willing to throw themselves at him. But when Lea Travers shows up one night at the local convenience store where Max is slightly drunk and feeling down about his life, he realizes that this girl is someone he’d really like to be the true version of himself with, just for once.

Lea doesn’t have the long history with Max from high school like her friends do, but what she’s heard about him is all bad. Still, she sees something genuine behind the jerk facade he puts on for everyone, and as events on campus conspire to bring them together, it’s obvious that the attraction is mutual. What both she and Max eventually discover is a deeper connection that could heal the invisible wounds they both carry inside. But can it survive the mistakes they’ve both made and their unshakable assumptions about loving and being loved?

So many New Adult books make the mistake of fetishizing tragedies in their relatively young characters’ pasts, but in MAKE IT RIGHT, this is never a problem. The perfect tone is set from the start, and what makes us sympathize with the characters is constantly balanced with moments of humor that are never out of place. Max is much more than what he shows to the world, and we see his troubled home life from his point of view, even as its effect on his behavior is made all too obvious as the story unfolds. Lea, too, has endured both physical and psychological blows that would be daunting for a person twice her age. But the histories each brings to this new relationship are presented matter-of-factly, with no superimposed drama to forcibly wring the last bit of sentiment out of readers. This careful balance between lightheartedness and deep emotion is what I find missing in so many New Adult romances, and its presence here is one of the big reasons I loved Max and Lea’s story so much.

The other great feature of MAKE IT RIGHT for me was how the author always kept me guessing as to how events would play out, while always ensuring the necessary groundwork had already been laid for what would happen next. Even when I was able to predict the nature of the inevitable Big Misunderstanding, I was still surprised by the series of events it triggered, leading all the way up to Max and Lea’s happy ending, blowing away every assumption I’d had up until then. Ultimately, neither Max nor Lea should have ever trusted each other to be the person they needed, but when they took that leap of faith, I took it with them, and was rewarded with one of the best romances I’ve read this year.

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Review: Reputable Surrender by Riley Murphy

With this review, I am pleased to introduce Sharon as a new reviewer for The Romance Evangelist. Here’s her bio:

Sharon is a middle aged mom who reads every chance she gets. This has led to near disasters for her devices. Most of these near misses involve moisture due to her love of being in the water. Her favorite genres are historical, erotic, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, suspense, travel and young adult. She’ll try anything once and the weirder things twice. You can soak up more of her insanity on Twitter: @Mojitana.


Reputable Surrender (Trust in Me, #5)

Reputable Surrender by Riley Murphy
Series: Trust In Me #5
Sharon’s rating: 3 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to The Romance Evangelist by the author in exchange for an honest review.

REPUTABLE SURRENDER is the final book in the Trust In Me series. You don’t need to read the other books in the series to understand the story.

Michael and Laren unknowingly meet at a BDSM club during a masked event. Michael steps up to disentangle Laren from an aggressive Dom but discovers that she is quite capable of handling things herself. She is feisty and Michael is intrigued. Their brief time together is over quickly as Michael leaves upon discovering her identity. You see, he’s promised a friend that he’d keep his hands off Laren. Since I hadn’t read the previous books I didn’t quite understand what the problem was, but the author did a pretty good job of catching the reader up.

Fast forward to 8 months later and Laren is in command in the boardroom of Michael’s office. She’s still as fiery as ever and Michael just can’t help but want her all over again. Once he gets the okay from his friend, Michael then begins his pursuit of Laren.

Unfortunately for Michael, Laren has a whole host of issues. She’s got a loser brother-in-law who can’t support his family financially. He makes poor investments so she is continually bailing him out because she worries for her sister and nephew. Her ex-boyfriend was an abusive jerk. And, finally, her ex-husband is a vanilla pushover. But Laren is bound and determined to prove herself in her field. She wants to move to the big city and work with her ex-husband at his company.

Enter Michael, the Reputable Dom. I’m not sure what makes him so reputable except that he is financially solvent and follows safe, sane and consensual BDSM rules. But he’s determined to tame Laren, his dragon. He is calm and patient with Laren even when she’s a mess over her family drama. He’s also ready to compromise in his own work life to be with her. But her trust will be hard for Michael to win after all her previous life disappointments.

In the end, those thought of as villains are redeemed and the true offenders are revealed. Through a series of twists and turns these two suffer and grow stronger together. Trust established and the foundation for happiness is laid.

Those who come to this book without reading the other four books in the series may feel a bit left out of the sub plots. And while I enjoyed the book, there were some turns of phrase that took me out of the world the author had crafted.

The relationship between Michael and Laren was steamy and sweet. He is a dominating man who knows that Laren needs someone to share some of her burdens. Michael is more than willing to be that man.

Although Laren was a strong, intelligent business woman, I felt she was portrayed as too much of a doormat in her personal relationships. Her sister and brother-in-law were a particular source of frustration for me as a reader. They were just terrible people. Their redemption at the end didn’t sway my opinion as to their awfulness.

The use of pet names (specifically Honey toast) that Michael used in reference to Laren began to grate on my nerves by the end of the book.

Some parts felt repetitive and uninspired. A few chapters felt over long. A couple scenes didn’t have good flow. A good editor could have solved many of these problems. Overall the book was enjoyable and I would recommend it.

Blog Tour: Hard to Hold On To by Laura Kaye

We’re pleased to be a part of the blog tour for Laura Kaye’s HARD TO HOLD ON TO, a Contemporary Romance filled with suspense and a novella in the Hard Ink Series, published by Avon Impulse (an imprint of HarperCollins).

Hard To Hold On To

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About Hard To Hold On To:

Edward “Easy” Cantrell knows better than most the pain of not being able to save those he loves—which is why he is not going to let Jenna Dean out of his sight. He may have just met her, but Jenna’s the first person to make him feel alive since that devastating day in the desert more than a year ago.

Jenna has never met anyone like Easy. She can’t describe how he makes her feel–and not just because he saved her life. No, the stirrings inside her reach far beyond gratitude.

As the pair are thrust together while chaos reigns around them, they both know one thing: the things in life most worth having are the hardest to hold on to.

Hard to Hold On To on Goodreads

EXCERPT:

Easy tugged down the covers and gestured for Jenna to get in. She chose the side that would allow her to lie on the uninjured side of her face.

“After what you’ve been through, I don’t want to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable,” Easy said.

Propping herself on an elbow, Jenna shook her head. “You won’t. You’re the—” She blanched as if she hadn’t meant to say whatever she’d nearly said.

Which made Easy need to know. He crawled on the bed as if lured by the words. “Finish. That. Sentence.”

She eased back onto the pillow, red hair sprawling around her shoulders like silk, and stared up at him. And it took everything Easy had not to settle himself on top of her and tease the words out with his hands and tongue.

“The only one who makes me feel safe,” she whispered.

Satisfaction humming through him, Easy turned and stretched out on his back. Because if he kept looking at her while she was looking at him like that, he might not be able to restrain himself from having what he wanted. A taste. A chance.

None of which she was in any shape for. And given the shitstorm in his head, probably neither was he.

“Good. That’s good,” he murmured, blowing out a long breath. Damn, he was tired. Not just because he hadn’t slept much the night before. But because of the size of the load he’d been shouldering for the past twelve-plus months. If he could only figure out how to put it down. He scrubbed his hands over his face, wishing he could shake himself out of this fucking slump.

If Rimes were here, he’d kick Easy’s ass for being such a morose motherfucker.

But he wasn’t here. Which was the damn problem in a nutshell.

He dropped his arms to the bed and peered over at Jenna.

She lay on her side facing him, hand tucked under her chin, not looking the least bit settled or relaxed.

“Whatchu need?”

“You.” She spoke the word without any hesitation, any doubt, any seeming self-consciousness.

“Have me, Jenna. Whatever you want,” he said, his cock stirring no matter how hard he reined himself in.

Holding his gaze, she moved closer until her head rested on his shoulder and her body trapped his arm between them. And, suddenly, she wasn’t fucking close enough.

“Here,” he whispered, lifting his arm and inviting her closer. And damn if his heart didn’t soar when she fitted herself the rest of the way against him, her face against his throat, her breasts against his ribs, her leg curling up onto his thigh.

He wasn’t sure whose sigh was louder. All Easy knew was that this was the first time in more than a year he didn’t feel alone. Wrapping his arm around her, he couldn’t resist squeezing her in just a little closer.

“Thank you,” she whispered, her breath ticklish against his neck.

He laced his fingers between hers where they rested on his chest. “I gotchu. You just close your eyes and know I’m here.”

Did you have a favorite line? Thanks for reading!

Men of Hard Ink

Other Books in the Hard Ink Series:

Hard As It Gets

Hard As You Can

Hard to Come By (11/25/14)

Hard to Be Good (3/10/15)

Untitled (7/28/15)

Praise for the Hard Ink Series:

For Hard As You Can:

“TOP PICK! There is a sinister and desperate edge to this tale that will keep readers glued to their seats. Kaye has dark romantic suspense nailed!” ~ RT Book Reviews Magazine

“Hard As You Can is another five star read. The characters Ms. Kaye has created are wonderfully broken and the drama is gritty, but the burgeoning romance and the tight-knitted relationship of the team leaves you with a sense of redemption. A must read series!” ~San Francisco Book Review

For Hard As It Gets:

“Edgy, sexy and full of suspense! A great read from a great new author!” ~ #1 NYT Bestselling Author J.R. Ward

“Sizzling romance… The intriguing tattoo parlor and military background will appeal to fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Lindsay McKenna.” ~Publishers Weekly Review

“Kaye’s depiction of sexual tension and her sex scenes are masterful and this will appeal to fans of Maya Banks’ KGI and Julia Ann Walker’s Black Knight’s series.” ~Booklist

Author PhotoAbout Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Review: Hard To Hold On To by Laura Kaye

Hard to Hold on To (Hard Ink, #2.5)Hard to Hold on To by Laura Kaye

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

HARD TO HOLD ON TO continues the story of a group of men once proud to be a part of their country’s Special Forces who were forced out under a cloud of suspicion thanks to betrayal by their own company commander. Now they are trying to clear their names while under siege by a powerful street gang determined to stop their efforts and silence them for good. Each installment in this HARD INK series advances the overall story arc while providing a romance and HEA for each member of the group. And although this particular story is much shorter than those which have preceded it, Easy and Jenna’s romance still packs an emotional punch as they discover both love and solace within each other’s arms.

Easy may have been Edward Cantrell’s nickname, but his life so far had been anything but that. The Army helped him escape the mean streets of his childhood, but when that was taken away from him the hard way, all he had left was the Ravens motorcycle club and survivor’s guilt bordering on suicidal. When he helped rescue Sara’s sister Jenna from where the Church gang had held her prisoner, he never expected it to mean more to him than helping out the woman of his good friend, Shane. But now that Jenna needs him, Easy might finally have a reason to live again, and find the love he never thought he’d deserve.

Jenna had grown up mostly ignorant of all the terrible sacrifices her sister Sara had made to keep her healthy and safe. But after being held in the same awful place where her sister had been tortured after their father’s death, Jenna isn’t taking anything for granted, especially where it concerns the man she credits for her rescue. Maybe she and Easy aren’t the most likely couple to succeed, but after her near-death experience, Jenna realizes that life’s too short not to take a chance on love.

HARD TO HOLD ON TO upholds the great precedent of the HARD INK series with another well-written romance under pressure, made believable in spite of the otherwise implausible time constraints and reliance on an insta-lust trope. In HARD AS YOU CAN, we saw Jenna learn just how awful her sister’s life had been while she herself had only had to worry about finishing college and keeping her epilepsy under control. So when Jenna turns to Easy for support in the aftermath of her rescue, it makes a strange sort of sense in that Jenna feels like she’s already been too much of a burden for Sara. What nobody counted on, however, was the spectacular sexual chemistry between Jenna and Easy, least of all themselves. And while insta-lust may not be the best reason to pull back from the cliff of self-destruction, Laura Kaye made it work for me, with some scenes so heart-wrenching that I would have allowed the characters anything they wanted just to see them happy again.

As much as I always want more of something good, HARD TO HOLD ON TO works well at novella length, whetting my appetite even more for the next full-length HARD INK story to come. It’s a must-read in the series, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Review: Committed by Sidney Bristol

Committed: Drug of DesireCommitted: Drug of Desire by Sidney Bristol

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

COMMITTED is the first book in Sidney Bristol’s new Loveswept romance series featuring couples who find love at a private BDSM retreat known as House Surrender. This first book pairs up an obsessed DEA agent looking to bring down a dangerous drug kingpin and a high school librarian still learning to be a fully independent adult after being raised in a closely guarded commune where her immediate family still lives without her.

When Damien Moana first spots Poppy Mercer musing over a romance novel while sprawled invitingly across a sofa in the House Surrender library, it’s all he can do not to immediately make her his, even after she informs him she’s a switch, not a submissive. After they engage in a BDSM scene more intense that either has ever experienced, Damien receives a message about a new chance to capture an elusive drug lord, and chooses his quest over Poppy, leaving her angry and vowing to forget him and that night. But Damien can’t forget Poppy, tracking her down only a few weeks later and eventually convincing her to continue exploring their mutual attraction in a Dominant/submissive relationship. What follows in COMMITTED is a passionate romance between two people who must prevail over the external forces conspiring to keep them apart, not the least of which is a sociopathic criminal bent on revenge against the man he blames for the death of his wife.

Damien and Poppy were what I loved the most about COMMITTED, and every moment they were together, both in and out of the bedroom, was when I was completely happy with the story. Their sexual chemistry is both compelling and convincing, and it never wavered for me even when Poppy was finally able to turn the tables and exercise her switch option on Damien in public. I would have been blissfully happy if the book focused entirely on their romance without the added distraction of the menacing drug lord and Poppy’s severely misguided hippie mother, but that’s not what was meant to be.

For COMMITTED is a romantic suspense story with a significant amount of the plot devoted to the object of Damien’s relentless pursuit lurking around every corner, and every scene foreshadowing his inevitable attempt to get to Damien through Poppy kept drawing my attention away from the romance. I understand the need to show exactly why Damien had been so intent on getting the evil drug lord off the streets for good. I also acknowledge that being resentful of anything not related to the actual romance is a problem I have with romantic suspense not necessarily shared by other readers. But the constant focus on the evil drug lord affected my enjoyment of COMMITTED to the point that I began skimming through any scenes not directly related to the romance. Then when the peril did find Poppy as predicted, what happened next seemed so drawn out to me that I wondered when we’d ever get to their happy ending. As a fan of epilogues, I was pleased to have one here, although it was somewhat jarring to have Poppy’s months of recovery only referred to in passing when we’d previously had to see her suffer in such exacting detail. But after all they’d both been through, it was gratifying to see Poppy and Damien come out whole on the other side, and it was their romantic journey that made COMMITTED work for me.

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Release Day: Committed by Sidney Bristol

COMMITTED by Sidney Bristol

COMMITTED: Drug of Desire
Written by Sidney Bristol
Published by Loveswept
August 12, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-553-39252-4

COMMITTED on Goodreads

In this erotic tale of sensuality and suspense, Sidney Bristol proves that desire can be the most dangerous drug of all.

DEA Special Agent Damien Moana works hard and plays even harder. But while indulging in forbidden temptations at a private BDSM retreat, the unexpected happens: He falls under a stranger’s spell. This woman drives Damien to distraction, pushing him to the sweet boundary between pain and pleasure. When duty interrupts their heated encounter, his focus turns to catching a criminal . . . but his head is still with the seductress who ignites his deepest desires. Now Damien must choose between closing the case of his career and losing the woman of his dreams.

Poppy Mercer can’t forget the night she spent with her mystery lover. When chance brings them back together, she seizes the opportunity to again feel his masterful hands on her body. Poppy is a switch who delights in dominating a powerful man . . . and submitting to the ecstasy of his control. Outside the bedroom, however, she questions her place in Damien’s world. His obsession with hunting a ruthless drug lord puts Poppy in the line of fire. And though Damien might be able to save her from danger, salvaging what’s left of her trust is another matter.

Committed is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.

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Sidney Bristol

About Sidney Bristol

It can never be said that Sidney Bristol has had a “normal” life. She is a recovering roller derby queen, former missionary, and tattoo addict, and she grew up in a motor-home on the U.S. highways (with an occasional jaunt into Canada and Mexico), traveling the rodeo circuit with her parents. Sidney has lived abroad in both Russia and Thailand, working with children and teenagers. She now lives in Texas where she splits her time between a job she loves and writing, reading, and belly dancing.

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COMMITTED – DRUG OF DESIRE GIVEAWAY

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Review: Hillbilly Rockstar by Lorelei James

Hillbilly Rockstar (Blacktop Cowboys, #6)Hillbilly Rockstar by Lorelei James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.

Although I’m a big fan of Lorelei James’s McKay books, my heart will always belong to her Blacktop Cowboys, and HILLBILLY ROCKSTAR, the latest entry in the series, reminds me exactly why they are among my very favorites.

We’ve already met our hero and heroine in previous stories, but even if this is your first visit to the friends and family in Muddy Gap, you’ll have no trouble diving in to this wonderful romance. Both Devin McClain and Liberty Masterson hail from the same small town in Wyoming, but had never crossed paths until the day she was assigned to be his personal bodyguard. Now he’s got to let this frustrating bossy woman in every aspect of his life while continuing to entertain people all over the country one night at a time. Liberty’s still adjusting to civilian life after multiple tours in Afghanistan, and it’s only by keeping men at arm’s length that she’s been able to deal with the loss of the only man she’d let herself care about. Being around the deliciously attractive Devin every waking moment is wearing her down, and the last thing she needs is to let this man distract her from her duty. But when they finally succumb to their mutual attraction, it’s only a matter of time before a moment of weakness could put both their hearts and lives in danger.

One of the things I love the most about Lorelei James’s Blacktop Cowboys series is how people you only meet briefly in previous books can still be memorable enough to rate a story of their own later in the series. Both Devin and Liberty have been in the background here and there, but they come into their own beautifully in HILLBILLY ROCKSTAR. We knew Devin’s success as a rich and famous singer hadn’t changed how he behaved around his childhood friends in Muddy Gap, but that it had kept him from letting any woman get close enough to see the true man inside. That duality is all the more poignant here when we see how the loss of his younger sister had affected his relationship with his family and hindered his ability to love anyone else. But Liberty had just as much trouble trusting and loving for similar reasons after she saw how easy it was to lose a loved one in a war zone. So it was no surprise that it took the forced proximity of living on Devin’s tour bus and her task of keeping him safe before she could let herself give in to the irresistible sexual chemistry they shared. Yet what neither of them could know at that moment was that they had just each found the one person who could save them from their self-imposed solitude forever.

The best part of HILLBILLY ROCKSTAR was how we got to see both Devin and Liberty learn to let love back in, and that the choice they’d each made to keep their hearts safe was the last thing the people they’d lost would have ever wanted for them. There were several times where each had their tenuous hold on this new love tested, and each time they came back to try again was another mini-victory that made me cheer. Even the subplot of the possible threats against Devin’s life which had brought them together was kept at just the right level of suspense so that it worked to move the romance forward instead of forcing it into the background. By the time the tour is over and the threat neutralized, we know that Liberty and Devin will have to be together for the rest of their lives, even if it takes them a little more time to figure it out. And that’s when we get yet another perfectly orchestrated happy ending for two people that deserve every bit of it. HILLBILLY ROCKSTAR not only let me visit Muddy Gap for another sensuous and sentimental romance, it reminded me that you should never give up on love, and that’s just one of the many reasons why it’s among the best romances I’ve read in 2014.

Ratings:

Overall: 5
Sensuality level: 3.5

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